December 6, 1885: Regarding the Reciprocity Treaty
In 1875, Hawaiʻi signed a reciprocity treaty with the United States that allowed certain products, such as sugar, to be imported into the United States without a tariff. See Convention Between the United States and His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands, art. IV, 19 Stat. 625 (1875) (see blog entry, ʻAukake 15: Kuʻikahi Pānaʻi Like) (reciprocity treaty available on Punawaiola: Treaties U.S. 1874-1875). It also prohibited the kingdom from granting similar privileges, or to permit the leasing of Hawaiian ports and harbors to other nations. On December 6, 1884, the reciprocity treaty was extended but the U.S. Senate added a controversial provision:
Article II. His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands grants to the Government of the United States the exclusive right to enter the harbor of the Pearl River in the Island of Oahu, and to establish and maintain there a coaling and repair station for the use of vessels of the United States, and to that end the United States may improve the entrance to said harbor and do all other things needful to the purpose aforesaid.
As described in a previous blog posting, Commander Edward Russell of the H.M.S. Actaeon secured an agreement at gunpoint which permitted British residents to settle on land obtained with the king’s consent. The Hawaiian and English versions of this controversial treaty were provided in previous blog postings (Māhele 1 and Māhele 2). In the record provided below, it lists the names of those who witnessed the treaty between the Hawaiian and British governments. A transcription follows.
As described in a previous blog posting, Commander Edward Russell of the H.M.S. Actaeon secured an agreement at gunpoint which permitted British residents to settle on land obtained with the king’s consent. Below is the Hawaiian text of this controversial treaty (available in Foreign Office & Executive: Chronological File, 1790 – 1849 1836 Nov n.d. 7, 16). In the previous post, the English language version of this treaty is provided.
As described in the previous blog posting, Commander Edward Russell of the H.M.S. Actaeon secured an agreement at gunpoint which permitted British residents to settle on land obtained with the king’s consent. Below is the English text of this controversial treaty (available in Foreign Office & Executive: Chronological File, 1790 – 1849 1836 Nov n.d. 7, 16). In the following post, the Hawaiian language version of this treaty is provided.
A treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation was secured between “His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands” and “Her Majesty the Queen of Spain” in London on October 29, 1863. The plenipotentiary listed for the Queen of Spain was Don Juan Tomas Comyn. Sir John Bowring was listed as the Hawaiʻi plenipotentiary. Ratification of this treaty was not completed until 1870 due to a number of unforeseen events, including Queen Isabella’s deposition in 1868. Moreover, just one month after this treaty was concluded, King Liholiho passed away on November 30, 1863. Charles Harris, the Minister for Foreign Affairs announced on September 2, 1870, “And whereas, the said Treaty has been now duly ratified by His Majesty the King, and His Highness the Regent of Spain, and ratifications exchanged, the said Treaty has become a part of the law of this Kingdom, and all the provisions thereof are to be observed.” Treaty with Spain, Haw. Gazette (Sept. 7, 1870) (available online).
Below are excerpts from the Hawaiian language version of this treaty. Transcripts for these excerpts are also provided.
This treaty contained twenty-seven articles and took twenty-two lengthy conferences to resolve. See alsoTreaty, The Polynesian at 1 (Sept. 11, 1858) (available online). Below are excerpts from the treaty (with the original seals). Transcripts follow.
On June 23, 1845, the Danish warship Galathea, commanded by Captain Steen Andersen Bille, left Copenhagen to embark on a voyage around the world. Jorgen Jensen, A Danish Sailor’s View of Hawaiʻi in 1846, 30 Haw. J. Hist. 105 (1996) (available online). Captain Bille was given a number of tasks to complete on this journey, including, for example, the appointment of Danish consuls in commercially strategically advantageous locations. With regard to Hawaiʻi, Captain Bille was instructed to negotiate and obtain a “most-favored-nation” agreement. Captain Bille arrived in Honolulu in October of 1846.
On October 19, 1846, treaty negotiations were successfully concluded and the requisite “most favored nation clause” was included as part of the Danish Treaty. This meant that Danish subjects enjoyed all the rights granted to other foreigners in Hawaiʻi. The treaty was later ratified by the King of Denmark on November 29, 1847. Ratification of the Treaty, The Polynesian, June 24, 1848, at 1 (available online at Chronicling America). The next day, on October 20, Captain Bille appointed Eduard Albert Lyverkrop, a Honolulu merchant, to serve as a Danish consul in Hawaiʻi. An excerpt from this appointment letter is provided below.
A treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation was secured between “His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands” and “His Majesty the King of the Netherlands” at the Hague on October 16, 1862. The plenipotentiaries listed for the King of the Netherlands were Paul van der Maesen de Sombreff, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Gerardus Henri Betz, Minister of Finance. Sir John Bowring was the Hawaiʻi plenipotentiary. This treaty was ratified by the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi in Honolulu on October 3, 1863. See Treaties – Netherlands. Below are excerpts from the Hawaiian language version of this treaty. Transcripts for these excerpts are also provided.
On October 4, 1862, a treaty between Hawaiʻi and Belgium was concluded in Brussels, with Sir John Bowring representing King Kamehameha IV, and Monsieur Charles Rogier representing King Leopold. Of significance was Article 26 which stated,
If from a concurrence of unfortunate circumstances difference between the contracting parties should cause an interruption of the relations of friendship between them, and that after having exhausted the means of an amicable and conciliatory discussion, the object of their mutual desire should not have been completely obtain, the arbitration of a third power, equally the friend of both, shall, by a common accord, be appealed to, in order to avoid by this means a definitive rupture.
The significance of this provision was explained in an article published in The Polynesian, “The value to this Kingdom of such a treaty provision cannot be overrated. Everyone must know that had treaties with such an equitable provision in them subsisted 38 years ago . . . the harsh transactions of Captain La Place in 1829–those of Lord George Paulet in 1843, and those of Admiral de Tromelin in 1849, would never have had place in Hawaiian history.” (Treaty with Belgium, The Polynesian (Mar. 21, 1863), available in Treaties Belgium 1862). In our past blog postings, we cover some of these aforementioned events involving Admiral de Tromelin (Part 1, Part 2), and Captain La Place.
Below is an excerpt from the Hawaiian translation of the 1862 treaty between the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and Belgium. A transcription follows.
In Eleanor Nordyke and Y. Scott Matsumoto’s article, “The Japanese in Hawaii: A Historical and Demographic Perspective,” they explain that the growth of the sugar industry resulted in an increased demand for cheap labor (pg. 162-63). However, Western recruitment of Japanese contract laborers was not permitted until 1868, when Eugene Van Reed, “the Hawaiian consul general in Yokohama, solicited the first group of 148 Japanese immigrants (140 men, six women, and two children).” Id. at 163. This group was known as the Gannen Mono, the “First-Year People.” Id. Shortly thereafter, complaints were received alleging that the workers’ contracts had been violated, and that they had been subject to abuse and poor treatment.
Against this backdrop, a treaty between Hawaiʻi and Japan commenced. Negotiations took quite some time, but it was finally concluded on August 19, 1871. The introductory paragraph contained in the 1871 Treaty between Japan and Hawaiʻi states as follows: “WHEREAS, a Treaty of Amity and Commerce between His Majesty the King, and His Imperial Majesty the Tenno of Japan, was concluded at Yeddo, on the 19th day of August, 1871, which has been ratified by His Majesty the King, and His Imperial Majesty, the Tenno of Japan, and the ratifications duly exchanged . . . .”
Below are a few images related to the correspondence leading up to the conclusion of this treaty, including an envelope and seal addressed to “His Excellency John M. Kapena, His Hawaiian Majesty’s Minister for Foreign Affair[s].”